Pruning Apple Trees
1. Start by downloading the PDF from Flemings Nursery and read the section on apples. For all of the varieties of fruits the Fleming Nursery article gives the best description and pictures of where buds are found on various kinds of fruit trees and implication for pruning practices.
2. After reading the Flemings Nursery pdf about apples and studying the pictures provided in that section of the article, watch the You Tube video, "Pruning Apple vs. Peach trees" by Utah State University Extension. Then go out in your backyard and make sure you can identify the types of buds that show up on apple trees and peach trees. Not all trees are pruned the same. This kind of contrast about location of fruit buds is really important. Apple buds are going to be on 2-year or older wood, while buds on peach trees are on 1-year old wood. We want to protect the 2-year and older wood on apple trees because that is where the fruit will be borne If you know where the fruit buds will be located and what they look like, then you can proceed on to make some pruning cuts.
3. Download the "Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard" PDF from the Oregon State U, the U of Idaho, and Washington State U. joint fruit project. Read the general section on training and pruning then the section on apples. Be sure to study all of the pictures and captions. There is also another good resource from Dallas (Texas) Fruit and Vegetable Grower that has excellent pictures and some embedded videos.
4. Most home gardeners will use the central leader structure for their apples, pears, and European Plums. For a nice clear discussion and short video of training trees in the central leader structure, go to the Stark Brothers Nursery site.
5. Go to the Washington State University tree fruit website and note that there are other competing training options to the central leader system for apples. While there at that site, you can see that this is true for other kinds of fruit as well.
6. Go to You Tube a do a search of "pruning apples" and take a look at some of the videos. Specifically check out *Pruning Peaches and Apples" by Walter Reeves of UGA Extension because it has an excellent discussion on open center vs. central leader.
7. Pay special attention to the videos on summer pruning of apples by searching You Tube for "summer pruning apples" and browse the videos that you find and then specifically look at:
8. If you have old apple trees that you want to rehabilitate, take a look at these: